The Battle of Outer Jovia

“Yer a long way from Kansas, ain’tcha?”

[From Deep Space Entanglements: A Tactical History of the Battles of the Interregnum]

The first battle of the newly-seceded Jovian moons—now formally christened the Jovian Trade Alliance, and informally, the land of Jovia—against the remnants of the United Federation of Planets (UFP), demonstrates aptly the cultural and conceptual schism that had at that time formed between those two polities.

Maintaining warships is astronomically expensive when they’re literal boats floating on an ocean. In space—well, the sum is something more than astronomical. The first “battleships” of the UFP were actually hastily repurposed merchant vessels, built for slow inter-asteroid trafficking, affixed with mining apparatus (anything that chews up an asteroid will chew up another ship).

Even compared against this sad fleet, that of the nascent Alliance was sadder still. The major infrastructure of the Belt remained under UFP governance and control, leaving the Alliance with no real mining industry. And so the ships of the Alliance were armed with sidearms—literal hand rifles—welded to their sides. Their only advantage was delta-V capability—a capacity, as we shall see, shrewdly wielded.

The battle was pitched about one light-minute from Jupiter. The five Alliance ships, comprising almost entirely captured interplanetary freighters, were well-suited to long-distance operations between the Belt and Jupiter itself. With such knowledge of their enemy, the twelve short-range UFP vessels hung back defensively in order to first discover their opponent’s strategy.

Maintaining warships is astronomically expensive when they’re literal boats floating on an ocean. In space . . . well.

However, the Alliance fleet did not appear to press its delta-V advantage, as had been predicted, instead holding off in a wide formation. And so a passive stalemate ensued at a range of about 1 light-millisecond.

Finally, the UFP ships, outnumbering and outgunning their Alliance counterparts, mustered and drove headlong toward its center vessel: an unstoppable charge.

The Alliance made no move to stop it.

In fact, the targeted vessel frankly turned and ran. The outer vessels of the Alliance formation swooped sideways, to bear on the flanks of the in-falling UFP fleet.

. . . and passed it by.

The Alliance vessels were racing past the UFP fleet, through it, to converge on its logistical support ship, the UFP Corella. The Corella being the only long-distance freighter then repurposed by the UFP, stored the combined life support, ordnance, fuel, and other such vital materiel to the UFP war effort. It was also completely unarmed, and unguarded.

By the time the UFP fleet commander realized his error, his fleet was two light-milliseconds away, and increasing at 10 km/s. The Corella was destroyed before its fleet could even turn around.

In the end, the Alliance fleet returned safely home, having operated adroitly within range of Pasiphae Station, the de-facto rebellion capital. Meanwhile, without fuel or food, the UFP vessels were destroyed without having fired a shot.

Though the UFP was to ultimately win the broader conflict through sheer attrition, in early battles such as these, the UFP‘s infamous stubbornness and aggression endured heavy casualties against the Jovian pioneering innovation.